Meditating without interruption using Siri Shortcuts

For a few years now I’ve been trying to meditate every morning as part of my daily routine. I definitely notice a difference in how my day goes if I meditate in the morning so I am now trying to stick to the habit no matter what my schedule looks like.

To meditate I use an app called Headspace, it’s a paid app with a yearly subscription. It’s not cheap and the Canadian dollar conversion doesn’t help either, but I gladly pay for it and I soften the blow by saving a couple of bucks every month so that when payment comes I’m good to go. Also, the fact that it’s not a free app motivates me to be consistent and keep using it. There is a free trial of Headspace and I highly recommend giving it a go if you are interested in meditating. They now also offer a family plan so that may be a great choice for some. The meditations are guided by the founder of the app, Andy Puddicombe, and the whole system is easy, fun and completely geared towards beginners.

So of course after a while, my geeky side started having ideas about how to make my morning meditation easier with the use of technology. A couple of times my meditation was ruined when my phone started giving me alerts because I forgot to turn on the “Do Not Disturb” feature.

I turned to the internet and I found that someone had already created a super easy solution to the problem using Siri Shortcuts. Siri Shortcuts is a utility that groups together a series of actions that you can activate with a tap or a voice command. For example, you can run a shortcut that calculates the tip on a restaurant bill depending on the number of people paying, or you can ask Siri to find the closest coffee shop to your current location.

Creating a shortcut is very easy but if you’re not interested in building one yourself, you can download many that have been created by Apple or by other users. In my search for a shortcut that would avoid alerts from interrupting me during my meditation, I found one that turns on “Do Not Disturb” so it mutes all alerts and calls on your phone. This was perfect, I could run the shortcut, meditate without interruption and then it would turn my alerts back on. This was perfect, but I wanted to improve it so I started adding other commands and I came up with a better solution. These are the 3 steps in my shortcut:

  • Ask me for how long I will meditate (my meditations can be 10, 15 or 20 minutes so I can choose this here).
  • Turn on “Do Not Disturb” for the number of minutes above but add 2 more minutes in case I get distracted before I actually start meditating.
  • Open the Headspace app for me so I can start meditating.

To run my shortcut I activate Siri and say “Let’s Meditate” (my assigned voice command for this shortcut) and the 3 steps above happen automatically.
This way I meditate without distractions and when I’m finished “Do not Disturb” is automatically turned off so I know I will receive alerts and calls again. Very cool.

This shortcut can also be used to block time to read, take a nap or do any activity where you don’t want to be interrupted.

Here’s the link to download my meditation shortcut and below that are the steps it includes. You can, of course, modify anything in the Siri Shortcuts app.

Meditation Shortcut
https://www.icloud.com/shortcuts/9f0564b2fe5c4d2e92e3c1980dfb0b90

One of the simplest but most enjoyable Rube Goldberg machines I’ve ever seen

This one is all about following the blue marble. It all happens on a tilted board so watching that marble create its own path and modify it as it travels is super satisfying to watch. I also love the way the marble is propelled upwards by magnets and other simple setups. The creator says it took about 3 months to build and 500 attempts to get it to work all the way to the end.

Solo: A Star Wars Story, 2018 – ★★★

I agree with the general consensus on Solo…it’s…ok.

Of course, it checks all the obligatory boxes that any Star Wars movie should check:

– Do we have a good or bad feeling about this? Check
– Do we see a star destroyer in an imposing shot? Check
– Is the villain a bit over the top and irrational? Check
– Is there a big creature with a big eye? Yep

There are many more examples but on the plus side, Lando is fun to watch, the cinematography has a nice moody look (dark, foggy) everything feels “dingy”. Since I had no option but to see it in 3D maybe that’s why it looked dark.

Just like in Rebel One, the robot “LS” is one of the most entertaining characters even though it’s on screen for a short time. Emilia Clarke was ok, her role didn’t stand out much so it could have been any other fine actor in the role.

The action sequences are fun, especially the train heist. Some could have been more effective if they were shorter. The movie feels 10 to 15 minutes too long.

So I enjoyed it…it’s ok.

As time goes by, I appreciate the grit, pacing and darker tone of Rebel One even more.

p.s. The cameo in the movie did not work for me at all. When you have to go research how it could make sense and see how convoluted and obscure the answer is, you’ve failed at Star Wars. It felt incredibly artificial and unnecessary.

p.p.s. If there is a Boba Fett movie in the works I hope they don’t childproof it too much or in my opinion, they might as well not make it.

source https://letterboxd.com/maus/film/solo-a-star-wars-story/

Avengers: Infinity War, 2018 – ★★★½

I’m a little burnt out on Marvel movies so I went in expecting the same formula. To my surprise, the way they handled so many characters was very well done. Thanos is a very compelling villain, like many, have said, I can see some logic to his madness.

The action is Marvel’s usual, didn’t find groundbreaking sequences that stood out to me. I’m not too happy about bringing the Guardians into the Avengers movies, it feels like they’re diluting the one great group of superheroes I really enjoy watching. A lot of the fun I had came from the Guardians being on screen.

The ending….well that’s a tough one. I’m not too sure I’ll be back to the theatre for the continuation of this story. Maybe streaming will be enough. I felt a bit cheated. People say it’s like The Empire Strikes Back but, honestly, it doesn’t feel like that. It feels very unsatisfying. Am I to believe things will stay the way they are? Please, this is Marvel, how often do this kinds of “endings” go to where they pretend to go?

Overall a satisfying experience for 85% of the movie. Last 15% takes my rating down.

source https://letterboxd.com/maus/film/avengers-infinity-war/

Ready Player One, 2018 – ★★★

Ready player one definitely has the Spielberg touch, the visual language, the photography (by his long time DP Janis’s Kaminski) and many more subtle things that are part of his movies

The book was really fun, especially for those of us who were teenagers in the 80s. The translation to a screenplay and movie isn’t as interesting but overall I had a good time. The visual effects are really good and just like in the book there are Easter eggs to be found in pretty much every frame. The movie could be 10 to 15 minutes shorter but I guess it would then be difficult to add all those 80s references.

I liked the fact that the young actors were not chosen for their fame or recognition which would’ve taken me out of the movie, but overall their work was good.
The script doesn’t spend much time building their relationships as real people, it’s all related to the adventures they have in The Oasis and I wish it could’ve been closer to the book in that sense.
This is probably as close as any movie was going to get to the book so I think it’s worth checking it out.

source https://letterboxd.com/maus/film/ready-player-one/